Ed Miliband will try to shift the UK general election campaign back to living standards on Wednesday by promising that a Labour government would lift tax credits by at least inflation every year in the next parliament.
The Labour leader, speaking in central London, will warn that family budgets are “at risk” from a second Tory-led government.
Labour lags behind the Conservatives in terms of economic credibility in the polls but still has an advantage on the cost of living.
With barely a week to go before polling day Mr Miliband was criticised by David Cameron for recording an interview at the home of Russell Brand, the maverick comedian, on Monday evening.
Mr Cameron said he had no time to “hang out” with Mr Brand, a leftwing polemicist with 9m Twitter followers. “He says don’t vote . . . he is funny. Right?” said the Tory leader. “You know politics and life and elections and jobs and the economy is not a joke.”
Mr Miliband replied by insisting he would go anywhere to challenge those who thought voting did not make a difference. “If we don’t engage in different ways with the people who aren’t engaging in this election then we will have fewer and fewer people voting,” he said.
On Wednesday Mr Miliband will publish new analysis suggesting that the Tories would cut tax credits by £3.8bn as part of their attempt to find £12bn of welfare savings.
“If the Tories get back in on May 8 your family budget is at risk,” he will say, speaking alongside Ed Balls, shadow chancellor. “Another five years of Tory government will mean a plan to double the pace of cuts next year.”
Mr Balls will say that the Tories had cut tax credits in the last parliament despite promising not to in 2010.
Morale is holding steady at the Miliband campaign, now ensconced in the party headquarters in Brewers Green, Victoria — in office space vacated by Rolls-Royce.
Earlier in the year some Labour candidates complained that their operation seemed fragmented, with multiple authority figures grappling for control of the message and strategy.
Douglas Alexander, shadow foreign secretary, became Labour election chair in late 2013 after Tom Watson resigned from the job.
Meanwhile Michael Dugher, who was responsible for the day-to-day elections communications, was replaced only four months ago by Lucy Powell, a former chief of staff to leader Mr Miliband.
There are also gripes about the role of David Axelrod, the former Obama aide, who provides weekly advice via email and phone calls.
And while the Tories have focused on a simple message of economic competence, the Labour strategy still has multiple strands. In January the message was saving the NHS; in February it was helping young people and in March it was the cost of living.
Only recently did Labour come up with its election slogan: “A Better Plan. A Better Future.”
But the party leadership is holding its nerve after Mr Miliband’s better than expected performances in the televised election debates. In a face-off with Boris Johnson on Sunday’s Andrew Marr programme the Labour leader got the better of the Tory London mayor.
The party admits that it is being outspent in the so-called “air war” with the Tories bombarding key constituencies with expensive leaflets and brochures.
Labour is counting on 300 paid activists to take on the Tories in a so-called “ground war” in key marginals.
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